After two difficult races in Australia and Malaysia, which ended his MotoGP title hopes, Jorge Lorenzo is looking to sign off his second premier-class season on a high after qualifying on the front row for Sunday's Valencia season finale.
The Fiat Yamaha star needs only one point to secure second in the 2009 world championship behind team-mate Valentino Rossi, even if pole sitter Casey Stoner (Ducati) wins the race.
But Lorenzo looks to have the pace to battle Stoner and second on the grid Dani Pedrosa (Honda) for a fifth win of the season on Sunday - and his first ever MotoGP win on home Spanish asphalt.
Meanwhile Rossi will start fourth, and still has grip problems to solve.
"I'm happy to have ended the season on the front row, where I have been for all but one race,” said Lorenzo, who has qualified on the front row 16 times this season. “I am feeling very confident about a good race tomorrow because my bike feels good and I am riding well here.
“My number one aim tomorrow is to make sure I finish the championship in second and I only need one point to do this, but of course I would also like to finish the season with a good race so I will try to challenge at the front as well,” he explained. “I'm looking forward to riding in front of all the Spanish fans, it's always an amazing atmosphere here for the last race!"
“Our race pace is good too and we are confident that tomorrow we can put up a good challenge for the last race of the season, which looks like it will be very exciting!” added Daniel Romagnoli, ahead of his last race as Lorenzo's team manager.
Like Lorenzo, Stoner has also won four races so far this year. Rossi has won six.